As interesting as rivalries are between characters on-screen, it’s almost just as interesting to pay attention to the back-and-forth semi-antagonisms between TV networks and streaming services. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos can barely blink without someone asking him something about his company’s place in comparison to linear television, and he’s always got something good to say about it all. When asked about unofficial ratings estimates that put Netflix shows on par with cable’s most popular series, here’s what he boasted:
I think we’re No. 1.
You hear that, The Walking Dead? You hear that, Game of Thrones? Your gargantuan popularity has been challenged.
Knowing that average Joe Schmoes outside his company don’t have access to the numbers earned by Netflix’s shows, Sarandos can pretty much say whatever he wants about the streaming service’s popularity. And no one really expects him to pony up any data to prove it, since it’s a widely known fact that Netflix is one of the most popular entertainment empires out there, and its popularity only continues to grow. Plus, there’s really no point in Sarandos lying, either, as he doesn’t need to resort to those kinds of tactics to draw in subscribers. That’s what the content is for.
Now, even though Sarandos isn’t making comparisons with broadcast network juggernauts like Big Bang Theory and others, the ratings for cable’s biggest shows are easily comparable. So that means that Netflix’s most popular shows – perhaps Daredevil and House of Cards – would necessarily have to be watched by an average of 15-20 million people per episode. That’s not completely out of the question or anything, especially since Netflix Originals’ numbers aren’t tethered to the Live+Same Night or Live+7 ratings windows that TV shows abide by. People can just watch anything whenever they want, which makes for some uneven grounds for competition, but ones that put Netflix in the advantageous seat, and more so if that’s where people are binge-watching older seasons of cable shows that they haven’t yet watched on TV proper.
Sarandos shared some other interesting tidbits at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference, according to TheWrap. Apparently Daredevil and Jessica Jones are “neck and neck” in terms of popularity among streamers, which is pretty intriguing, considering Jessica Jones was less of a marquee name for non-comic fans. Also, apparently Master of None has turned co-creator Aziz Ansari into a mega-celebrity in New York City, where the series is set. I guess that’s how it was for him in Indiana when Parks and Recreation was still airing.
Netflix has another 31 scripted series coming in 2016, and hopefully most of them are amazing. But will they be as popular as Sarandos is claiming? We’re betting Fuller House is, if nothing else, because people love some Tanner family goodness.